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Tiny Confucio Express Chinese Gourmet Cuisine amounts to a counter with a few tables on a deck overlooking a Farm Store. But it packs big flavor and is a wise choice for take-out/delivery. Try the salt-and-pepper-style seafood plate, enlivened with jalapeño, carrot, and shallots. The fish and shrimp are perfectly cooked with a crisp, caramelized coating so light you'll question if there's even batter. About a dozen of the well-seasoned crustaceans sit on a pillow of shredded iceberg lettuce, offering a cool contrast to the medium heat of the familiar green chilies. For $14, the dish, like most at Confucio, is amply portioned. The vegetable lettuce wrap ($8) is a good starter that easily serves two. Delicate iceberg lettuce cups accompany a hoisin-sautéed mixture of chopped straw mushrooms, shiitakes, water chestnuts, snow peas, carrots, and celery. Or try the dumplings, basically pan-fried pot stickers (six for $6). If you're looking for even more value, try one of Confucio's 22 specials available for lunch (11 a.m. to 4 p.m., $8.95) and dinner (4 p.m. to close, $11.95) that come with fried rice and an egg roll. Desserts such as napoleon and tres leches ($4 each) are house-made daily.
Operating out of a remodeled gas station on the corner of Coral Way, Confucio Express serves "Chinese gourmet cuisine" created by a bunch of Colombians. Almost a half-century ago, owner José Choi's Chinese immigrant parents landed in Barranquilla, opened a fancy food spot called Jardines de Confucio, and taught their kid how to run a restaurant. He mastered the wok, the deep fryer, and the flat-top grill while shuttling back and forth between the States and Colombia. But for the past... More »
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